It’s your second or third day of doing cooking camp with your kids, and instead of happily skipping over to the kitchen to join in on another recipe, you’re met with whines of “But I don’t want to” or “Can I watch just one more TV show first?” And you’re just left thinking What happened? She seemed to enjoy it so much yesterday.
Let’s face it, kids get bored easily. I don’t know how many times I’ve suggested an activity that was enjoyed in the past, just to get met with resistance. And almost every time, the kids just want more screen time.
Our family has strict limits on screen time, yet my oldest is still constantly asking to play on her iPod or LeapPad, or to watch just one more show on Netflix. For a long time, I wondered how on earth I’m supposed to compete with that. Then, one day I realized it was time to start making screen time work for me instead of against me.
It’s a simple idea, really. If we stop competing with screen time – and start using it strategically – we can actually use it as a tool to get our kids off the couch.
By watching short videos of other kids actually cooking in the kitchen, T was encouraged to get up off the couch and get in the kitchen with me to start cooking. The key, however, was to avoid watching those fun full-length kids cooking challenges on our favorite food channel. Instead, we streamed videos from YouTube.
- YouTube videos aren’t structured with a cliffhanger like the kids cooking challenges we see on TV. Those shows are specifically designed to leave the viewer wanting more. YouTube videos are more straightforward, which makes it easier to step away.
- Most of the videos are short. You can easily satisfy the ‘just one more’ request without exceeding more than 20 or 30 minutes of total screen time.
- Kids love watching other kids do things that seem hard. It makes new things seem less scary. Watching a YouTube video even got my picky eater saying she would eat vegetables!
- YouTube videos are easily accessible on laptops, tablets, phones, and even streaming to your television.
- The sheer volume of videos means you’re likely to find at least one or two videos relevant to the day’s ‘lesson’.
Which YouTube Kids Cooking Channels Should You Watch?
Most of the time T and I would just browse for a short video and then jump down the rabbit hole of suggested videos for about 30 minutes. But we did find some great channels that we hope to watch again
- Cook with Amber
- Hey Kids Let’s Cook (Not a channel, but T enjoyed the videos)
- Twice as Good
- Charli’s Crafty Kitchen
- Cook Time with Remmi
The awesome thing about this method is that it can be applied for more than just kids cooking camp. Want to teach your kids to sew? I bet there’s a YouTuber for that, and just about any other activity you can think of. And this way, when my kids ask “Can I watch just one more TV show first?” we can both get what we want.
Do you use screen time to motivate your kids?
What activity would you use screen time to get kids off the couch this summer?
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